18 January 2012

It's Been the SOPA/PIPA Protest Day Today

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Wikipedia Went Dark
Well, it looks like the rent seekers who normally win this stuff (the "Mickey Mouse" Sonny Bono Copyright Act anyone?) are getting at least a temporary brush-back over their attempt to turn the internet into a gated community:
When the powerful world of Old Media mobilized to win passage of an online antipiracy bill, it marshaled the reliable giants of K Street — the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Recording Industry Association of America, and of course, the motion picture lobby, with its new chairman, former Senator Christopher J. Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat and an insider’s insider.

Yet on Wednesday this formidable Old Guard was forced to make way for the new as Web powerhouses backed by Internet activists rallied opposition to the legislation through Internet blackouts and cascading criticism, sending an unmistakable message to lawmakers grappling with new media issues: Don’t mess with the Internet.

As a result, the legislative battle over two once-obscure bills to combat the looting of American movies, music, books and writing on the World Wide Web may prove to be a turning point for the way business is done in Washington. It represented a moment when the new economy rose up against the old.

“I think it is an important moment in the Capitol,” said Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California and an important opponent of the antipiracy legislation. “Too often, legislation is about competing business interests. This is way beyond that. This is individual citizens rising up.”

Legislation that just weeks ago had overwhelming bipartisan support and had provoked little scrutiny generated a grass-roots coalition on the left and the right. Wikipedia made its English-language content unavailable, replaced with a warning: “Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet.” Visitors to Reddit found the site offline in protest. Google’s home page was scarred by a menacing black swatch that blotted out the search engine’s label.

Phone calls and e-mails poured in to Congressional offices against the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the Protect I.P. Act in the Senate. One by one, prominent backers of the bills dropped off.
It should be noted that the Republicans are walking away from this faster than the Democrats.

Even Orrin Hatch, the MPAA and RIAA's bitch,* has withdrawn his support of the bill.

BTW, this debacle is largely the fault of the entertainment industry, because until now they have refused to meet with the tech companies to work out differences, though they are begging for that now.

Here's a suggestion to the tech companies:  keep your boot on the MPAA's.

You'll be doing them a favor.  You might remember then MPAA chair Jack Valenti claiming that the VCR would destroy the studios, when the video rental revenues actually saved their bacon.

Here's a thought to the unproductive leeches who are entertainment executives, whose business, after all is to rip off the artists who actually produce this stuff:  Do less cocaine, fire your worthless brothers-in-law, and invest in treating the actual creative people, and in producing better content.

*For which he has been richly paid through record contracts from the labels.


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